Wednesday, March 14, 2012

M/M, Erotica & Romance labels

As my muse has been distracted by a few random thoughts, I thought I would share them with you all so I can get back to work on Destiny.

First, a big thank to Evan over at Gay Erotic Stories for having me as a guest. I had a wonderful time being interviewed even though my characters kept interrupting to throw in their two cents worth!

Now onto the labels…

As many of you know I am an avid reader… two, three, and sometimes four books a week. I use goodreads to find many of the books and like to rate them when I am finished. If you are not familiar with goodreads, it is an author/fan networking site that allows you to have a digital library along with joining groups and a plethora of other things. You should check it out. One of the features that I enjoy about goodreads is that I can create 'shelves' to organize my books. I can label these shelves anything I like and when I rate books, other goodreads members can see what shelf I have put that book on in my library. This makes it easy to view friends library's as well. I have shelves labeled: fantasy, paranormal, f/m/m, m/m, short stories, free… you get the picture.

Anyway, I recently rated a book and placed it on my m/m, romance, short, free shelves.
The book was okay and it "qualified" for those categories in my mind (as did the 4 other books by this author that I read). Imagine my surprise when I was contacted by the author and told that they do not write m/m but write gay fiction. At first I was a little miffed about being criticized about how I was sorting my books. I mean, the book was a romance story and the love interests were both men. Hence, my m/m label. I just shrugged it off. I wasn't going to create another shelf for one author's books because 'gay fiction' is too broad of a label for me.

Today I made my daily visit to one of the groups I belong to on goodreads. In a reply to another group member, this author made a point to mention how her book was mislabeled as "m/m" though she did not mention me by name. It was in this post that I realized there was a miscommunication or misunderstanding on the author's part. On goodreads, there is a group called M/M Romance. I believe that this author was incorrectly insulted because in her mind, m/m references on goodreads equate the group M/M Romance. I do not believe it is my place to question her opinion of what m/m is actually defined as but out of curiosity, I went to acronyfinder to see what they say. Surprisingly there are seven definitions for M/M…none of which say M/M Romance but one of which does say male/male (which is the intent of my label.)

Thinking of this misunderstanding made me then think of the misunderstandings when the words "Erotica" and "Romance" are used. I never thought I would be questioned on my m/m label and that if I was ever accused of mislabeling a book, it would be from a romance writer. Authors like J.R.Ward & Jessica Andersen have been on the NY Times Best Sellers lists repeatedly for their romance novels. However, when we take the definitions of romance and erotica into account, their books should include an erotic as well as romance label. Just so we are clear, romance by definition is "a novel or other prose narrative depicting heroic or marvelous deeds, pageantry, romantic exploits, etc., usually in a historical or imaginary setting" (, 2012). Erotica is defined as "explicitly sexual literature or art" (, 2012).

So, where am I going with all this? I guess I am just needing to point out that definitions and the meaning of that definition for one person may be different for another. It is not my place to start an online controversy when another author's definition differs from mine but by the same token, I would never correct anyone without asking the reason behind a label they are assigning me or my work. When in doubt, ask. I always do and it is the only way to prevent misunderstanding

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